Notre Dame's Father Hesburgh Dies

The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, a transformative figure in Catholic higher education who led the University of Notre Dame for 35 years and wielded influence with U.S. presidents on civil rights and other charged issues of his era, died Feb. 26 on the university campus. He was 97.

May he rest in peace and be blessed by God for his work in Catholic education and other endeavors. May those grieving be comforted.


Check out this commentary.

Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Praying for the repose of Fr. Hesburgh’s soul.

Prayers for Father Hesburgh and for Dr. Rice, and their families.

Within months of one another the three “prominent Catholic leaders” who helped craft a rationale for millions of “pro-choice Catholics” via a famous speech at Notre Dame during the Presidential Election year of 1984 (Fr. Hesburgh, Fr. Richard Mc Brien, and former NY Governor Mario Cuomo) have died. < from the Boston Catholic Insider

(1984) --The Catholic Church, in the person of the archbishop of New York (John O’Connor) , was at odds with a Catholic candidate for national office (Geraldine Ferraro, VP candidate) on a matter of fundamental importance. The Church’s pro-life public witness was clear — painfully clear for some.

It is well known that Mario Cuomo went to Notre Dame to argue that faithful Catholics could in good conscience, as legislators and executives, defend abortion rights, pass laws facilitating abortion, and even fund it with tax dollars. Yet his “Religious Belief and Public Morality” speech was as much about Notre Dame as it was about Cuomo. Notre Dame’s leadership put its prestige on the pro-choice side of American politics.

Cuomo did not just happen to use a lecture at Notre Dame to address abortion politics. He was brought to Notre Dame in a flagrantly provocative manner to undermine the Church’s pro-life witness in politics. Cuomo was then among the most prominent Catholic politicians in the nation. His political star was rising rapidly after he gave a celebrated keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that summer in San Francisco. His address at Notre Dame was scheduled for Sept. 13, 1984, hosted by Father Hesburgh and Father Richard McBrien, chairman of the theology department.

*** ‘O my Jesus, pardon us, and save us from the fire of hell; draw all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.’ *** – Sr. Lucia of Fatima’s account of a prayer committed to her at the July 13, 1917 apparition.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen. – familiar English language form of the same prayer

It is an interesting double-standard that pro-choice, lgbt (until recently), and atheist student groups are not allowed to form because they are contrary to the mission statement, but that these sorts of prominent speakers are invited.

I’m not even going to go into the awful liturgical abuses at the dorm Masses because that would be off-topic. Notre Dame has fallen a long way from where it needs to be.

He has a lot of explaining to do for the Land o Lakes Conference. God have mercy on him.

I don’t know if I would read any significance into the fact that Fr. Hesburgh, Fr. McBrien, and Mario Cuomo died within months of one another, but it is definitely sad how many Catholics – and Protestants for that matter – are Pro-Choice.

Pro-choice? How about pro-abortion?

Here’s a wonderful article about Father Hesburgh from someone who knew him well.

In defense of the best priest I knew: Please do not comment negatively unless you knew Fr. Ted. I visited him each year since graduation. He has helped me through some dark times. Never have I met a more pastoral priest; ironic because he lived a life as an administrator not a pastor. He was a healer and a genuine holy and devout Christian. He certainly was pro-life and had a special and deep devotion to Our Lady. In 72 years as a priest he missed celebrating daily Mass only when he was most critically ill (2-4 times total), and even helped celebrate Mass on the day he passed last week.

Regarding Land O Lakes: Fr. Ted knew that he needed to keep Notre Dame held closely to the Congregation of Holy Cross. Yet, simultaneously, knew that if Notre Dame were to grow in the academia regarding research and development, he had to legally take the liability away from the order (for legal dangers to the order). Hesburgh very ingeniously decided to create a relationship between Holy Cross and the university similar to an LLC. The order would not be held legally liable on university matters, yet the order still has final control over Notre Dame and still does to this day. As such, Notre Dame has established the fellows which is the highest governing body at the university.

The Fellows of the University are a “self-perpetuating body,” consisting of six members who at all times must be “members of the Priests Society of the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, and six of whom shall be lay persons.” The Fellows are the “successors and associates in office” of the original founders of the University and perform the following duties of office:

Determine powers to be delegated to the Board of Trustees;
Elect the Trustees of the University in accordance with the Bylaws;
Adopt and amend the Bylaws of the University;
Approve the sale or transfer of substantial parts of the University’s physical property;
Ensure that the University maintains its essential character as a Catholic institution of higher learning;
Ensure that the University’s operations make full use of the skills and dedication of the members of the Priests of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers.;
Ensure that the University “continues its long-standing policy of admitting students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin.”


The Land o Lakes conference went far, far, far beyond a simple financial separation.

The Catholic University today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word, with a strong commitment to and concern for academic excellence. To perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.


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